Recife is the fifth largest metropolitan area in Brazil, with a population of over 4 million people. The city is the capital city of the State of Pernambuco and occupies an important place in the cultural, economic, political, and scientific life of Brazil. Like much of Brazil, Recife is a city of many contrasts. It boasts of overwhelming natural beauty (some of Brazil’s most beautiful beaches are within a short drive from the city), as well as what one would expect from a large Brazilian metropolitan area (fancy shopping malls, busy highways, a sea of skyscrapers, over 80 institutions of higher education, Brazil’s second largest subway system, and a thriving high-tech industry, for instance). While walking down some of Recife’s busy streets, you will see rich tropical greenery, warm beaches, colorful artistry, and millions of people going about their lives in the best Brazilian way: hard-working, friendly, and filled with energy.
It won’t be long, however, before you start to notice the brokenness that also is typical of large urban centers in Brazil: thousands of homeless individuals, the famous Brazilian “favelas,” (slums) and the various acts of violence that take place daily throughout the city. Sexual tourism is still a widespread practice in the area, with thousands of foreign men arriving in the city weekly looking for cheap sex and incentivizing sexual exploitation. Physical violence is also prevalent. In 2013, Recife had the 38th highest homicide rate in the Americas. Not surprisingly, many in the city struggle with all sorts of mental health problems (depression, anxiety, trauma, etc.) as a result of their direct experience with violence, sex trafficking, broken families, and the daily stress of living in a bustling metropolitan area.
Recife is regarded by many as the “Venice of Brazil” because of its many rivers and bridges.
Recife has an incredible diversity of colonial architecture due to its tumultuous past including Portuguese, Dutch, French and English structures throughout the city.
Dallas, Texas, is Recife’s twin city in the United States.
Recife is home to one of the world’s top 10 shark infested beaches.
Recife has an area dedicated to information technology called "Porto Digital" (Digital Port) with more than 90 companies and 3,000 high tech jobs.
Recife was one of host city during the 2014 Brazilian World Football Cup.